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Advice on getting your first credit card

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Credit cards are the king of convenience and there are many benefits to owning a credit card, like building up an essential credit rating or paying for something in an emergency such as a new washing machine. The best thing is they provide great financial insurance, so if the company that you bought your product off goes bust; the card issuer repays the amount, something impossible with a debit card.

Yet they can leave you in financial ruin if they aren’t respected and used wisely.
So to help guide you into the intimidating choice of credit cards here are a few useful tips to consider to make a credit card a beneficial asset.

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Pay it off monthly and pay it in full

If there’s only one thing you take away from these tips make sure it is this one. If you fail to adhere to this you will start to accumulate heft interest charges. Additionally there are also penalty fees for late and missed payments so be sure to pay your monthly fees and pay them in full.

Don’t have it on you all the time

It’s so easy to pay for things on credit card that it’s easy to forget how much you’re spending. If you know yourself to be a shop-a-holic then you should get into the habit of leaving it at home when casually shopping and instead use it for vital purchases such as repairs or travel tickets.

Pick the right card

With so many options out there picking the right credit card can be hard, especially your first one. Cards that charge 0% interest on purchases are ideal if you are looking to spread the cost of a purchase whereas cards that offer 0% on balance transfer are a better option if you have already built up a debt on another card.

If you are looking to stay with the same card long term then you may prefer a card that offers a low lifetime rate for both purchases and balance transfers. These are ideal for people who frequently travel as they incur a low charge to use abroad.

Optimize your finances

By maximising your income, reducing your spending and most importantly budgeting you can afford to make the necessary repayments you need to as well as live the lifestyle you want.

Having a stable job and decent income go hand in hand with owning a credit card, they are not an option for fast cash and should be avoided if you are already in debt as things can quickly spiral out of control.

If you know it’s going to be a tight month financially then consider cutting back on things you don’t need. Miss the gym that month or perhaps miss that show or two but don’t miss your repayments!

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Credit Card Applications – 4 Tips You Need to Know!

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In this day and age, it’s extremely easy to apply for credit. Whether it be a payday loan, personal loan, or credit card, you have many options available.

When it comes to credit card applications the whole process seems rather simple. However, this is not always the case, as there are many mistakes which people make that results in their application getting declined.

If you want to avoid these mistakes, then you should follow the 4 tips outlined below, as it could mean the difference between success and failure.

Fill out the whole application form

While this may seem obvious, a common reason credit card companies reject applicants is because of incomplete application forms.

One of the main reasons for this could be the fact that many people are now filling out their applications online, which means it’s all too easy to miss out a page.

Before you send off your application for review, make sure you check over everything at least once, so you are 100% sure everything was filled in.

Give accurate information

Another reason why your credit card application might be turned down is because of inaccurate information. Let’s face it, we live in stressful times, and it’s all too easy to make simple mistakes when filling out a form.

For example, you might put down a wrong phone number, or get the number of a past address incorrect. For this reason, you should always double check the information you have supplied before clicking send or putting in the post.

Read the terms and conditions

Did you know that when you send your credit card application, you have already agreed to the terms and conditions set out by the lender.

With this in mind, you should have a good understanding of the terms and conditions BEFORE you fill in the application. If there is something that you do not agree with, then you should refrain from proceeding any further.

Ask questions

If there is anything that you are unsure of then don’t be afraid to ask questions. All credit card companies are easily reached by phone, which means you can get an answer to your question within a few minutes.

Talking to the support staff will also give you a better idea on what it is like to deal with that credit card company, and if they are rude then it is probably a good idea to end your dealings with them right there.

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Spending with cards reaches £500bn

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Recently a report stated that consumers’ annual spending on cards has topped £500 billion for the first time across 2013.

The trade body UK Cards Association has found out that debit and credit cards were responsible for three in every four pounds spent in shops. Just 10 years ago, the figures looked different- only two in every four.

1The above mentioned report on UK Card Payments found that British people spent £520 billion on UK goods and services using their debit and credit cards last year. Comparing to the same time in 2012, there was only £488 billion spent. Thus, this year’s figures mark a 6.7% increase.

If we add up the spending by overseas visitors as well, we end with £534 billion of total value of purchases on debit and credit cards in 2013. What this means is that spending on cards now comprises one third of the total GDP of the United Kingdom. Again comparing with earlier data, the spending on cards accounted for only one quarter in 2003.

Furthermore, nowadays 91% of UK adults have a debit card which adds up to a total of 47.5million cardholders. In 2012, there was half a million less cardholders. The increase in debit card owners has been mainly due to the fact that in recent years there have appeared many bank accounts on the market which automatically issue a debit card. What is more, around 38% of the debit cards holders have two or more cards.

Further statistics from the report show that over 80% of all credit and charge card spending in 2013 was made by cardholders who repaid the balance in full. From 2005 to 2013, outstanding borrowing on credit cards has fallen by 15.6%. in 2005, the monthly average of outstanding borrowing was £67.4 billion, while in 2013 it was £56.4 billion. This reflects the desire of people to pay down debt where possible even in tough economic times.

Future expectations are that the annual value of card payments will be lifted from £520 billion last year to around £874 billion in 2023. It is expected that young adults will boost this figure because they have been used to debit cards while they were growing up. The growth in technology will also account for some of these changes, because contactless payments are introduced every day, plus there is a constant rise in internet shopping which often includes payments being made by debit cards.

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The credit card that offers you the most benefits

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Nowadays, you can receive many things from your credit cards. Such advantages include interest-free periods on balance transfers and purchases, as well as cashback and free of charge withdrawals when you are abroad.

With a good credit rating, you might have two or three credit cards. However, if you wish to carry only one credit card, you need to choose between the best credit cards that are offered on the market. Here we take a closer look at one of those cards.

1Nationwide Select:

This card offers 0% balance transfers, 0% purchases, you receive cashback, as well as free usage abroad. Furthermore, Nationwide has recently reduced the balance transfer fee on its Nationwide Select credit card. The normal deal that you get is 0% interest on balance transfers during the first 26 months after you receive the card, plus a balance transfer fee of 2.4% of the amount you are transferring. However, until the end of March 2014, you can have the same deal but just for a 0.75% fee.

Some of the other benefits you receive with the Select card include a competitive 15 months interest free on purchases, commission-free purchases abroad and 0.5% cashback on all purchases made in pounds. This really can be labeled as the best all-round credit card on the market. However, it is important to note that the Select card is only available to current account customers of Nationwide. Nonetheless, if you decide to open FlexAccount, FlexDirect or the £10 per month FlexPlus, you will still be qualified to apply for the card.

FlexDirect is an account that really deserves more attention. The reason why is because it offers 5% AER on in-credit balances which go up to £2, 500, plus a free-free overdraft for 12 months.

However, if you do not want to open a new account just to receive the Select card, you can still benefit from the cheapest balance transfer offer which is through the Nationwide Visa, which is accessible to everyone. This card comes together with 0% on balance transfers for 26 months, plus the reduced 0.75% fee which is available until the end of the month.  Also, you will get a three months interest-free on purchases. In addition to that, you will be able to build up a commission-free allowance when you spend abroad from the card.

Thus, if you are looking for a card that offers many advantages, it is worth considering Nationwide Select card.

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What do with do with our PPI refund money?

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Post the fall out of the Payment Protection Insurance scandal, banks have been forced to put aside millions of pounds to compensate the customers who they had wrongly taken money from.  The victims of the bankers were everyday people who had taken out mortgages, loans or credit cards, and had been opted into this additional insurance product without their knowledge, consent or had been told it was a compulsory purchase they had to take with their borrowing. Many were signed up for PPI who were not ever even eligible for the product as they were retired or self-employed and could never have made a claim on the payment protection insurance policy – thereby meaning they were paying premiums for an insurance that was completely useless to them.

The good news however is that for the thousands of people who the banks wrongfully took money from, there is the likely possibility to getting their money back.  They can go to a PPI claim company to get a refund for them or lodge a PPI claim directly with their bank, either way, more than £13 billion has been paid out in refunds from the banks and there are still actual billions waiting to be claimed (many people still aren’t aware if they ever had PPI or may be eligible so its worth checking!).

The average payout in a single PPI claim is £2,750.  And what do us Brits do with the money we receive in compensation? A survey conducted into this very question by online site VoucherCodesPro.co.uk reveals that the most popular thing to do is spend it on a holiday. Just under a quarter of all respondents chose to do so, with buying a new car coming second place at 22%.

The payout money was on average used for spending in some form within three weeks.  Household appliances (19%) and furnishings (13%) were high up in the list, and other items such as clothes, gadgets and shoes were also in the top 10: numbers 7 to 9 respectively.  17% used the money to pay off bills, whilst only 12% decided to save any of the money.

The additional consumer spending that the PPI claims payouts have fostered are therefore responsible for a huge boost to the UK economy, much needed in these austere times. The bankers have, however inadvertently (with all their blunders and misappropriations), actually helped the economy after all.

If you feel that you may have been mis-sold PPI, why not try an online PPI rebate calculator to figure out how much you may be owed. Most PPI claims companies offer a free PPI check or can look into you case on a no win no fee basis, so it won’t cost you a thing if you’re not eligible.

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Comparing Cashback and Rewards Credit Cards

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The common perception is that most people carry a balance on their card when it comes to credit card usage. However, reality is a bit different. The UK Cards Association reports that 61% of credit card users pay their bill in full each month. Therefore, if you fall in this category, it might be a good idea for you to have a card that will reward you for spending on it.

It is worth exploring the numerous rewards and cashback cards that are available if you really do pay your card off in full each month. In this way, the provider will actually pay you for using your credit card. However, you will need to make a decision whether to go for a card which will help you earn some form of reward points or for a straightforward cashback card.

1Here we will make a quick comparison of some of the leading cashback and reward cards in order for you to see how much you really get back for your spending.

We will make a quick comparison between credit cards and cashback cards. We will use the American Express Platinum Cashback Everyday credit card and the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold charge card. For the purposes of this comparison, the following numbers will be used. , £6,000 is spent on each card for the duration of one year, with £2,000 spent in the first three months and £2,000 of the other £4,000 spent in big supermarket chains and petrol stations over the following nine months.

What you earn from the Platinum Cashback Everyday card is around £100 which is about 5% on up to £2 000 spent in the first three months. For the next £4 000 that are spent, the cashback is earned at 1% which adds £40 more to what you have received.

Now we will see what you get for the same amount of money with the Preferred Rewards Gold card.  It should be noted that the first three months give you an introductory bonus of 20 000 American Express Membership reward points. These points can be easily converted into £100-worth of gift vouchers for a lot of shops and big brands. This means that you have 5% return which is the same as the introductory bonus on the Platinum Cashback Everyday card.

So it might be the case that rewards cards prove to be better than cashback cards in terms of value. Nevertheless, it is worth exploring your options carefully before choosing which one you will go for.

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Cash Back on Your Holiday Shopping

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With the festivities oh Bonfire night and Halloweeen having been out behind us, we are yet to celebrate the biggest one of them all, Christmas! The key question for shoppers however remains one of finance and how much you are willing to spend this year on the daddy of the festive holidays. There are a number of credit cards out in the market which, depending on where you chose to do your Christmas shopping, can offer cashback and rewards of up to 15% which is definitely worth considering.

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The Santander 123 is just one of the latest credit cards to offer cash back, which will give back 1% to its customers on all Amazon online purchases which lasts until the 31st January 2014. The offer also includes a 1% cashback reward when spending money in major supermarkets, as well as 2% cashback when using the card in all big name department stores and 3% cashback on purchases at major petrol stations across the UK and purchases on London underground and National Rail. The promotion is available to both existing and new customers and provides shoppers with a great little treat around the holiday season. However, there are some downsides to the 123 credit card the first of which is the cost it comes at. In order to benefit from the cashback offer you will need to pay a £24 annual fee for the 123 credit card which also charges a 22.8% APR. The good news is that this is now waived to the first year meaning that new and existing customers do not have to pay the charge if they are holders of the account until the 31st December 2013.

Another rewards card scheme which seems innovative has been released by Lloyds. The bank says that it is giving 1000 current account holders who have set up internet banking a refund of purchases worth up to £500 every week. The selection is made randomly and is a great way of saving money around the holidays if you are one of the lucky selected account holders. The cashback scheme is valid on purchases made in retailers such as Homebase, Morrisons, Argos and Ocado with more major stores set to sign up to the scheme in the coming weeks before Christmas. Halifax is also currently offering cashback to its Reward current account holders once again the industry average of up to 15% with its partners including major brands such as Argos and Morrisons.

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Tesco 0% interest card!

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A new credit card has been introduced by Tesco, which allows customers to transfer their debts to this card without any fees and interest for a whole year. 0% interest also allows customers to purchase goods from the store and online within the 12 month period without any interest. Alongside all these features, clubcard points will also be added whenever a purchase is made with the new credit card.

The Tesco Clubcard With No Balance Transfer Fee is rather unique as no other card in the financial market allows 0% and no fee for a whole year. Clubcard points are common with customers who shop regularly at the store, using the credit card will benefit those who have frequent visits to Tescos as every £4 spent on Tesco petrol will allow 5 extra clubcard points as well as one point for every £4 spent elsewhere within Tesco.

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As mentioned, the new card is one of its kind in terms of its features. For customers who want more than 12 months 0% interest, a different package is available which allows 16 months without any interest as well as 9 months 0% purchases for a fee of 2.9%. The new card can seem beneficial for those who wish to transfer their debts onto the card in order to prevent the build-up of debt or to simply slow the growth of interest.

Using this new card can be ideal for those who wish to take advantage of what it offers, what should be noted however is that any payments due should be paid off within the 12 month period, as anything which exceeds the time limit specified at agreement will incur interest charges. The rates of interest are usually quite high for such cards. Missed payments can also affect individual credit scores. Although there are several different cards offering different rates, not all are suitable for everyone, therefore it is best to find a deal which is appropriate for each person’s situation.

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Mis-sold PPI on your Credit Card?

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If you are currently holding a mortgage, car loan, or credit card under your name, there is great chance that you have been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance.

It was only until recently that the terms and conditions of selling PPI policy’s changed. Originally, PPI was sold at the same time borrowers take out a loan. The function of PPI has always been to protect customers by covering monthly payments in the event that a borrower falls ill or is rendered as unable to work due to injury, disability, or loss of employment.

Unfortunately, most PPI policies did not live up to its guarantee of keeping loan payments current during times of dire need. Personnel from lending institutions failed in explaining the capacity, functions, and full extent of PPI, including the exclusions or exceptions which may render a borrower unfit to get its benefits. For instance, freelance or those who tagged themselves as self-employed or borrowers who suffer from preexisting medical conditions are denied PPI benefits, which in turn resulted in mortgage, car loans, and credit cards defaults not being covered they way they should have been. Obviously, the policies were sold to certain groups of borrowers who were ineligible for cover in the first place.

If you belong to any of these groups, or have noticed some vague terms and conditions under your contract agreement, you are most likely a victim of mis-sold PPI.

Re-check your agreement with a lender. Assess the terms and conditions and if the following words appear in your contract, there is a big chance you have been mis-sold PPI:

–          ASU

–          Loan care

–          Loan protections

–          Payment cover

–          Protection plan

You may or may not find these words on your agreement, but if you think it is likely to be a case of mis-sold PPI verify this by seeking the help of a claims management company such as PPI Claims Advice Line. You will receive the information and help you need in order to get the compensation you deserve for the mis-selling by the banks. Further information on claiming back PPI on credit cards can be found on here.

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Credit card spending can pay for your flights

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Holidays are on the wish list for many, however saving up for one may not be possible for all with mortgages, insurances, bills and other household expenses. Now however, spending money can entitle you to a free holiday. Many reward credit cards now allow customers to earn points totalling up to a free holiday. Although taxes, fees and surcharges are not included in the points, paying a minimum fee would bring a smile to several faces.

Such reward cards are part of the Avios rewards programme, replaced by the former Airmiles and BA Miles. From having just 9,000 Avios, the reward system can pay for a return UK/Western Europe flight. Although a minimum of £30 per person may need to be added on top for other exclusive fees, a holiday may not seem so far off.

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At Lloyds, Duo Avios Reward Credit Cards are available to customers who can earn Avios as they use credit. Customers applying for this will receive two cards, an American Express and a Mastercard. For every £5 spent using the Mastercard, and every £1 spent on the American Express, customers will receive one Avios. Customers spending £500 in the first three months will have a total of 15,000 Avios which is enough to secure a return flight to Western Europe.

The duo reward credit card is available to customers who are aged above 18 and residents of the UK. Customers must be employed and not have any County Court judgements or bankruptcy history within the past 6 years. The cards provided through Lloyds are great for collecting Avios on almost all purchases; spending money abroad allows double Avios!

This brilliant reward system is one not be missed out on. Saving money for a holiday had never been easier. Whether it’s an exotic holiday you are after or something just to get away, the Avios programme caters for all. The amount of Avios will however determine which destination is available.

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